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Before I had babies, I was afraid I wouldn’t be good at it. Rearing babies, that is.
Turns out, I’m the baby whisperer.
When Baby Cakes visits, I implement my secret strategy.
It’s called, Turning On The Faucet.
I walk over to the kitchen sink, turn on the tap, pat her back while swaying, and her little head lays right down on my shoulder.
Turn off water = raised head.
Leave water on = giant water bill + sleeping baby.
At this point, I’ll take the sleeping baby.
All women clothe themselves in a robe of anxiety before becoming mamas. It breaks down something like this:
What if I can’t give birth without anesthesia?
What if I’m not good at nursing?
What if I don’t know how to calm the baby?
What if I don’t catch the fact that he may have a handicap?
What if I’m a failure at potty training?
What if I can’t ever get him to stop biting?
Pre-school and Kindergarteners
What if I’m not teaching him enough?
What if I can’t ever get her to stop sucking her thumb before she goes to school?
What if I can’t tell if he has special needs?
What if I can’t get them to do their homework?
What if I can’t get her through this awkward stage?
What if I don’t know what to say if he doesn’t make the team?
What if I can’t control them?
What if I’m never able to really connect with or understand them?
What if I can’t get them to take responsibility seriously?
What if I can’t guide them to a good career?
What if I can’t motivate them to finish college?
What if I can’t get them to move out of the house?!
What if I overstep boundaries and make their parents angry?
What if I spoil them too much?
What if I can’t find a connection with them?
What to do when you question your abilities as a mother. Click To Tweet
Did you notice that all the questions started with, “What if I”? Do you know why?
Because truthfully, when we wonder if our kid will ever potty-train, we think we’re failing in the whole bathroom business.
When our kids don’t turn in their homework on time or run consistently late for part-time jobs, we wonder where we went wrong.
If my kid becomes a two-year-old bully, my automatic thought is, “how did I fail so miserably at making this kid nice, and where is the sweet little baby I had mere months ago”?
You want to know the answer to all these questions?
The answer is:
I don’t know the answer.
Here’s the deal: your kids will be like no one else’s. Your situation will be different than all the other moms. Your husband will also be
a little weird different.
You may find this hard to believe, but there is no manual for rearing your personal children.
Every animal on the planet knows how to care for its young. They are born with an innate ability to know.
But with parenting, it’s different. For one thing, our young actually talk.
And sometimes they talk back.
We also rear our young for years as opposed to most animals leaving within a matter of months.
Why do you think God did that to us?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct Thy paths. ~Proverbs 3:5-6
Mothering examples from Scripture
Old Testament moms didn’t have all the answers either.
Hagar may have been oblivious when Ishmael kept making fun of Isaac (Genesis 21:9). When Sarah threw her out, she ran out of water in the desert, and all she could think to do was to put Ishmael under a shade tree and go have a good cry. But God told her not to fear – and He cared for them.
Rebekah used her faulty human influence over her son, Jacob, directing him to steal his brother’s birthright and deceive his father (she came from deceptive stock – and she passed it on; Genesis 27:8-10). But God later re-named Jacob Israel and that was the beginning of that great nation.
When the widow and her son were starving, her reasoning was to prepare one last meal for them both and then wait for death to come, yet God sent Elijah to provide for them (I Kings 17:12). Later on, her son became so ill that she couldn’t save him, and he died (verse 18). But after he brought her son back to life, she knew he was from God (vs. 24).
In New Testament days – even Mary didn’t understand Jesus (why in the world did he cause his parents so much worry by staying back to talk to the teachers – and not letting his parents know?!!). But He grew up to be the Savior of the world.
Moms have been asking the same questions for years.
And God has an answer for us.
And not only trust, but acknowledging God in all our ways.
What does trusting and actively seeking look like for a mother?
1.) Daily giving our children back to the Lord
Through prayer and Scripture reading, actively connecting with the Lord and bringing Him our concerns.
2.) Seeking out mentors
Seasoned mamas can be such a source of inspiration! Even though their experiences are different from yours, many child-rearing principles still remain the same – such as teaching obedience and consistency.
P.S. You can get weekly parenting tips and advice in your email by following RearReleaseRegroup.com here!
3.) Reading Christian parenting books
When my kids were growing up, I pored over books like The Strong-willed Child by James Dobson and How to make children mind without losing yours by Kevin Lehman. These days, there are even more great child rearing books such as Sally Clarkson’s The Ministry of Motherhood and The Mission of Motherhood.
4.) Studying our children
Familiarize yourself with their personalities, read up on their personality types and how to work with each, and help them develop their individual talents. Keep your eyes and ears open, and you will often figure out what needs done through observation.
About my secret…
I’ll bet you’re still wondering how I figured out the faucet trick, aren’t you?
One day when Baby Cakes threw a fit, I grabbed a milk bottle out of the ‘fridge and flipped on the water to warm it. As I stood by the sink waiting, Baby Cakes stopped crying and put her sweet little head on my shoulder. I decided to turn the spigot off since she calmed, but she straightened back up and started crying again.
Decided to resume bottle warming and after turning the faucet back on, I realized she calmed back down.
Her mother runs a white-noise maker at night. She’s used to sleeping with it.
Kinda like Pavlov’s dog, ya know?
(Nevermind if you don’t.)
Happy Mother’s Day, mom. You got this. And even if you don’t – God does! You’re going to make it – you’re doing it right now! Keep walking by faith – God will light your path for each step as you go! He will not leave you.
And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. ~Philippians 1:6
*What stage of parenting are you anxious about? Join the discussion in the comments below!
Agree. Agree. Agree. Especially the “seasoned mamas” part! Remember how many mamas we sought out, at least I did. I observed them, I observed their children then I stalked them to death. Just kidding. But seriously, they were my best teachers and after getting to know my own children, I implemented many strategies I learned from books and other moms and ultimately gave them over to the Lord. This generation, man, it’s different. They depend on to many other things to get them through. At times I just want to shake em’ – with grace of course! Pinned this Ruthie.
I did the same, Michelle! I picked their brains, watched their parenting, stalked them to death too!!! And yes – google is the “all knowing” everything. I know what you mean, girl. I love how we are on the same page in our parenting techniques! Thanks so much for always affirming and cheering me on. You are the ultimate blogger cheerleader!!! Much love to you! 🙂
I definitely am most anxious about teenage years! My little princess is soooooo strong willed. I worry we will butt heads!!! I love your advice to seek out mentors. I can’t wait for someone to volunteer to be a mentor, I need to ask! (Also- post idea: how do I (as a mom of young children) find a mentor?? 🙂
Sarah, I was so anxious about the teen years too! And guess what – they turned out to be my very favorites!!! Yep, I had a strong-willed daughter too (I call ’em “Swillers”, and it was tough, yet fun and we made it through – using LOTS of humor and LOTS of listening time!
And you know what? You DO need to ask. Moms aren’t just going to come up and ask you if you want mentored. And that’s not because they don’t want to – it’s because they don’t know if you’d be receptive or if they’ll look like know-it-alls. I’ve had young moms ask me though – and I was delighted!!! So what are you waiting for? Go ask, already! Seriously, they will be flattered. I’d be your mentor, but we live an hour away! However, I’m always happy to discuss, listen, or give advice so if you ever feel like you just need a sounding board, please don’t hesitate to contact me!
And YES – GREAT QUESTION for the “Dear Mom” column – I’ll put that one in the rotation – How do I find a mentor? (I think I just told you, but I’ll expound!) Yay!
Oh Ruthie, when I saw the title of this post, I thought, “this is for me.” And it was! Teen years are hands down my favorite (like you mentioned to your reader above) but some days my Swiller Drives. Me. Crazy. The drama gets pretty intense around here. I love her to death, but it makes me feel so inadequate as a mom. AFTER 18 years, for crying out loud! 🙂 I’m taking things with a grain of salt and praying DAILY for these kids. And still having fun. I always remember your advice, “Don’t get on the roller coaster.” I like that better than my own version: “Stay calm yourself.” Also I’m reminding myself daily, “Don’t take it personally!” Happy Mother’s Day, friend.
You’re so funny, Betsy! I love the teen years so much! But yes – they are definitely exhausting! I always enjoy hearing how you’re doing with your kids. Keeping a sense of humor is of utmost importance, along with not getting on that crazy roller coaster!
I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day, and that your paths will be straight in these next few weeks and months of transition!